Sunday, November 14, 2010

Growing Commitment To Our Spiritual Path: Three Steps

Dearest All,

The last couple of weeks in class, we have been talking about how important it really is to be ever-more committed to our spiritual path.

You can feel the growing sense of urgency in every aspect of human life that the people of the world are finally getting it that they need to find "a better way".  We have found a better way.  But we need to stop treating it as if it were "optional", either through a mental laziness that allows old habit to just continue or through our cherishing of some grievance or other as "justifiable" or even "worthy".

"Grace is a total commitment," the Ur tells us.  And, "Your commitment is not yet total."

"
[T]he Atonement is a TOTAL commitment. You still think this is associated with loss. This is the same mistake ALL the Separated ones make, in one way or another. They cannot believe that a defense which CANNOT attack also IS the best defense."

And, "We have repeatedly stated that the basic concepts referred to throughout the notes are NOT matters of degree. Certain fundamental concepts CANNOT be meaningfully understood in terms of co-existing polarities. It is impossible to conceive of light and darkness or everything and nothing as joint possibilities. They are all true OR all false. It is absolutely essential that you understand completely that behavior is erratic until a firm commitment to one or the other is made."

So, how do we begin the process of going from leaning in ACIM's direction and actually making a wholehearted commitment?  The steps that I am getting are fairly simple and non-threatening, taken individually, but have the potential to have an enormous impact on us, both individually and collectively.

Step #1, as you already know if you've read my last few emails, is to take a personal inventory of those areas "out there" that trigger our most passionate but clearly not loving responses.  (For me, that inventory included things like child abuse, religious intolerance, financial exploitation by some of many - you get the point. ;-)  Things that really "get your dander up," as my grandmother used to say.  And everyone's triggers form a unique constellation of grievances in their composition to that of others.  And, contrary to the ego's beliefs, these are not areas where we can find any justification for our feelings.  And despite how powerful our anger seems to make us feel, it actually tells us where we feel threatened - and that's precisely the areas where we are giving our power away to something or someone "out there".  This crucial step is the beginning of self-discovery by bringing into the light of consciousness all the erroneous beliefs we hold that if we really, truly got it that we were the beloved child of God, we would simply laugh at the idea of threat.

Step #2 is just as simple - and every bit as uncomfortable - in that we are being asked to look at all the ways we give our power away to something "in here" - to the strident, demanding voice of the ego - that keeps screaming in our heads about our "need to attack" others in order to feel safe.  This step is about being awake enough to begin to catch ourselves going into fear out of habit.  Literally mindlessly.  And once that train is set in motion (science tells us that we have a window of only 2 seconds before the brain produces chemicals that sets our bodies into auto-reaction mode), it is incredibly hard for us to derail it. 

Step #3, as we shall discuss in class this week, is to be willing to be given the means to have a heart and mind in union.  We keep trying to figure that out for ourselves.  And therein lies our greatest failure.  But steps 1 and 2 give us a road map, of sorts.  A heads up to the pitfalls all around us and within us.  The rest is, as ACIM says, our task to give over to the One Who knows our path for us. What's ours to do is the beginning.  And then, to just be willing.

So why is there still resistance?  Simple, ACIM says:  "The habit of engaging WITH God and His Creations is easily made if you refuse actively to let your minds slip away. Your problem is not concentration: it is a belief that nobody, including yourself, is WORTH consistent effort."

Please believe with Jesus that you're worth it!

Loving you.  Really.

--
With love always,
Carmen

Friday, October 29, 2010

How the Holy Spirit Can Use the Season of Halloween

A Spiritual Version of "Trick or Treat" for Growing Adults

Is Halloween "pagan"?  Well more human than pagan, I think.

The origin of Halloween is "All Hallows Eve", the night before All Saints Day which celebrates the formal saints as well as the unrecognized but saintly departed souls.  It was believed that on the night before the holy day, the souls of the less-than-holy would walk the earth with a special viciousness, intimidating the good and faithful and seeking retribution on those with whom they still felt were their living enemies.  So people started leaving little offerings of tasty foods outside their homes in an attempt to "buy off" the malicious spirits of the deceased that they has somehow wronged in life.

Can this very human expressiion of "guilty conscience" EXPECTING retribution (a phenomenon that we are each so familiar with) be reconciled with what ACIM teaches?  Are there any lessons we can get from the annual tradition?

The Course tells us that the Holy Spirit can use the seasons to assist us in our awakening whenever we're willing.  So here's a little mind-experiment that you can take into meditation, if you're willing:

1.  Be as a little child -BUT NOT ALONE - holding tightly to the highest protective presence that you trust (the Holy Spirit, Jesus, any truly loving soul).

2.  Allow these questions to pass through your mind, KNOWING that you are not only completely safe but also doing a potentially tremendous healing and just LET the guests who come in response to appear (you can consciously see them as tiny beings - like the little kids that they really are :-):
     - What "ghosts" still haunt you?
     - What "monsters" still pursue your days?
     - What dark and forbidding "mists" of fear still block your path?

3.  Keep reassuring yourself that you are safe throughout the process understanding thst this is sacred "work" and so it will be supported by all the power and comfort of the universe.

4.  EXPECT A TREAT!  (No trick. ;-)

I love you.  (You're beautiful.)

Carmen

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Transforming Hearts and Minds

Transforming Hearts and Minds


THE NIGHTMARE:

The Ego's picture of you - "The picture you see of yourselves is deprived, unloving and very vulnerable. You CANNOT love this. Yet you can very easily escape from it, or better, leave it behind. You are not THERE, and that is not YOU." T-7.VII.3.2


- "The ego’s goal is quite explicitly EGO AUTONOMY. From the beginning, then, its PURPOSE is to be separate, sufficient unto itself, and independent of any power EXCEPT ITS OWN. This is WHY it is the symbol of separation." T-11.V.4.4


THE HAPPY DREAM:

The way God sees you - "YOU are the work of God, and His Work is wholly lovable and wholly loving." T-1.III.2.3


"You are altogether irreplaceable in the Mind of God. ...You CANNOT replace the Kingdom, and you cannot replace YOURSELF. God, Who KNOWS your value, would not have it so, and so it is NOT so. Your value is in GOD’S Mind, and therefore not in yours alone. To accept yourself as God created you cannot be arrogance because it is the DENIAL of arrogance. To accept your littleness IS arrogant because it means that you believe YOUR evaluation of yourself is TRUER than God’s." T-9.VIII.10.1


CAN YOU IMAGINE...?

"Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time? Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more." T-15.I.1.1


"You will first DREAM of peace, and THEN awaken to it. Your first exchange of what you made for what you want is the exchange of nightmares for the happy dreams of love. In these lie your true perceptions, for the Holy Spirit corrects the world of dreams, where ALL perception is. Knowledge needs NO correction. Yet the dreams of love lead UNTO knowledge. In them you see nothing fearful, and BECAUSE of this they are the welcome that you OFFER knowledge." T-13.VII.9.1


"In your [holy] relationship, the Holy Spirit has gently laid the real world; the world of happy dreams, from which awaking is so easy and so natural. For, as your sleeping and your waking dreams represent the same wishes in YOUR mind, so do the real world and the truth of Heaven join in the Will of God. The dream of waking is easily transferred to its reality. For this dream comes from your will, JOINED with the Will of God." T-18.II.9.4


"The holy instant, your holy relationship, the Holy Spirit’s teaching, and all the means by which salvation is accomplished... are all but aspects of the plan to change your dreams of fear to happy dreams, from which you waken easily to knowledge. Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success." T-18.V.1.3


"Happy dreams come true, NOT because they are dreams, but only because they are HAPPY. And so they must be loving. ...

It is no dream to love your brother as yourself. Nor your holy relationship a dream. All that remains of dreams within it is that it is still a SPECIAL relationship. Yet it is very useful to the Holy Spirit, Who HAS a special function here. It will become the happy dream through which He can spread joy to thousands on thousands who believe that love is fear, not happiness." T-18.V.4.1


"Vision is the means by which the Holy Spirit translates your nightmares into happy dreams; your wild hallucinations that show you all fearful outcomes of imagined sin into the calm and reassuring sights with which He would replace them. These gentle sights and sounds are looked on happily, and heard with joy. They are HIS substitutes for all the terrifying sights and screaming sounds the ego’s purpose brought to your horrified awareness. They step AWAY from sin, reminding you that it is NOT reality that frightens you, and that the errors which you made can be corrected." T-20.VIII.10.4

Monday, January 18, 2010

The structure of psyche in A Course in Miracles






Monday, January 18, 2010 — 8 pm EST
Live online discussion on ACIM Chat


Class notes

In our picture of the psyche, there is an unconscious level, which properly consists ONLY of the miracle ability ... and a conscious level, which perceives or is aware of impulses from both the unconscious and the superconscious. These are the sources of the impulses it receives. Consciousness is thus the level of perception, but NOT of knowledge. Again, to PERCEIVE is NOT to know.

Consciousness was the first split that man introduced into himself. He became a PERCEIVER rather than a creator in the true sense. Consciousness is ... the domain of the ego. ... the ego is NOT the self... AND A crucial source of the ego's off-balance state is its lack of discrimination between impulses from God and from the body.

Everything that man creates has energy because, like the Creation of God, they (it) come FROM energy... Miscreation is still a genuine creative act ... To deny this is merely the previously mentioned fallacy of depreciation. AND .the individual.BELIEVES in what he has created in his unconscious.

The ability to perceive made the body [a means to see separate selves] possible... The superconscious, which KNOWS, could not be reconciled with this loss of power, because it was incapable of darkness [LIMITED ability to see]. This is why it became almost inaccessible to the mind, and entirely inaccessible to the body. [The superconscious cannot limit its Vision of the whole to the limited vision of the physical eye.]

Miracles come from the subconscious (below conscious) level. Revelations come from the above conscious level. The conscious level is in between and reacts to either sub- or super-conscious impulses in varying ratios. AND ...every level has a creative potential...

The mind is a very powerful creator, and it never loses its creative force. It never sleeps. Every instant it is creating, and ALWAYS as you will. AND The truth is there ARE no idle thoughts. ALL thinking produces form at some level.

Perception ALWAYS involves some misuse of will, because it involves the mind in areas of uncertainty. The mind is very active because it has will-power. When it willed the Separation it willed to perceive [i.e., NOT know = hide]. Until it chose to do this, it willed only to know. Afterwards, it had to will ambiguously, and the only way out of ambiguity IS clear perception.

[Knowledge] can always be REMEMBERED. This is not a literal remembering as much as a re-membering.

INSTRUCTIONS: The purpose of this course is integration.

The levels which man created by the Separation are disastrous. They cannot BUT conflict. ...one is essentially meaningless to another... They were conflict-prone by definition, because they wanted different things and obeyed different principles [uncertainty of values created a hierarchy of needs = Maslow].

Separation from God is the only lack he really needs to correct. But his Separation would never have occurred if he had not distorted his perception of truth, and thus perceived himself as lacking. The concept of ANY sort of need HIERARCHY arose because, having made this fundamental error [that he was lacking in ANY way], he had already fragmented himself into levels with DIFFERENT needs. As he integrates, HE becomes one, and his ONE need becomes one accordingly. Only the fragmented can be confused about this.

...nothing is difficult that is WHOLLY DESIRED. To desire wholly is to CREATE... AND ...unified perception ...parallels God's knowing.

The Separation HAS occurred. To deny this is merely to misuse denial. However, to concentrate on error is merely a further misuse of legitimate psychic mechanisms. The true corrective procedure, which has already been described as the proper use of the spiritual eye (or true vision), is to accept the error temporarily, but only as an indication that immediate correction is mandatory. This establishes a state of mind in which the Atonement can be accepted without delay.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Carmen's Thrusday night ACIM class


Tonight!  Miracle Thursday

Date: January 7, 2010

Presenter: Rev. Carmen M. Cameron
Meeting: 7:30 to 9:00 pm, Eastern time U.S.

Limited to 20 online


Love donation suggestion:
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Direct link to meeting room.